Microsoft wants to make gaming one of the big features of its Windows Phone 7 operating system. Indeed the game portion of WP7 will bring in a number of features such as 3D avatars that have previously been set up for the Xbox 360 console. However one of the bigger issued with playing games via mobile phones is getting players together to play online in multiplayer matches. Now a newly revealed Microsoft research paper has a new idea about how to improve matchmaking in mobile phone games.
As revealed on the I Love Windows Phone blog, the paper called the system Switchboard. The PDF document goes into detail on what Switchboard will do to improve multiplayer gaming on phones. The paper points out there are lots of issues when it comes to online gaming via phone, stating, "Gamers move around, the wireless channel is hostile, the bandwidth you need is not always there, disconnections can happen, and smartphones are energy-constrained. If you just take a game and put it on a smartphone, it is not going to work."
What's the solution? According to the paper Switchboard will allow phones to check to see how potential phones from other players will handle latency. It states, "Switchboard finds suitable game candidates by 'pinging' their phones to estimate latency: the time needed to move a packet of data." Much like latency affects PC gamers in their online games, a high latency number for a phone game will likely make playing that game hard while online. The idea is for games to have as low of a latency number as possible for games, especially for action titles
While Switchboard is still just a concept there is potential for this kind of technique to improve the overall muliplayer gaming experience over a mobile phone.